The bottom line on the game Sunday afternoon was a 4-2 loss to the Tulsa Oilers before an announced crowd of 3484 at the BOK Center in Tulsa. The bottom line on the weekend was a win and two losses against Tulsa. The bottom line on the last eight games was three wins and five losses. All this and Allen has yet to play the top two teams in the league (Rapid City & Missouri). While it is tough to be away from family and friends during Thanksgiving week, the upcoming road trip may be a blessing in disguise and just what the doctor ordered to use a couple of cliches. The team leaves this afternoon for a three game series against Arizona (Wednesday, Friday & Saturday). Spending this week together concentrating on hockey could turn out to be a good thing. Here are my thoughts on this weekend and next weekend:
- There certainly were some positives in the game yesterday after the 10-8 debacle on Saturday. There is no such thing as a good loss and getting down 3-0 is rarely the formula for success but when you look at the score sheet there is some good news including the penalty kill which did not give up a goal in five Tulsa man advantages, the power play scored a goal, the Americans allowed only 21 shots on goal after allowing 41 on Saturday, and Allen out shot Tulsa 30-21. Something to build on for sure.
- Steve Martinson's comment to me after the game was we out played Tulsa but they finished better. A bad line change and a turnover led to odd man rushes for the Oilers. The one goal was a bad bounce after Pitton made a pass that deflected right to a Tulsa player.
- It was great to see John Snowden back in the line up the last two games and he made is presence known in both games. He officially got a goal and an assist in both games but the goal credited to him on Saturday will be changed to Kale Kerbashian as John reported that it was Kale's goal. Though it was in a losing cause his goal, assist and overall play on Sunday earned him the games #2 star. John's combined plus/minus in these two games was a +1 as he was the only player on the team in plus territory.
- According to Tommy Daniels in his broadcast from Tulsa, Darryl Bootland did not make the trip to Tulsa because he was on personal leave. With Trevor Hendrikx in the line up the team was short a forward and had an extra defenseman for the game.
- So much for home ice advantage. The Americans have more wins on the road (69) than they do at home (66) in the last three years.
- This will be the third time in five years the Americans have spent Thanksgiving in Arizona. Thanksgiving dinner may be at Cracker Barrel. In the two prior Thanksgiving visits (2010-2011 & 2012-2013) Allen won two of three games.
- Jamie Schaafsma told me he intends to travel with the team to Arizona and hopes his injury is healed sufficiently to get him back in the line up on the weekend.
- The team leaves this afternoon for the long trip to Arizona. The distance is something like 1050 miles and will take the team about 20 hours if there are no weather issues. Talk about bonding time this is the ultimate. Here are a couple of quotes that might apply.
“Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversations.” — Elizabeth Drew
“Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.” - Charles Kuralt
- Today is the day to submit my weekly CHL rankings to Minor League Hockey Report for inclusion in their Power Ranking. As I was looking at what happened around the league this past week and the upcoming schedules a few teams stood out. Rapid City has emerged as the best team in the league. Tulsa is on the move up the power ranking chart and the standings as they have won nine of their last eleven games. Arizona with five straight wins is a dangerous team despite being in 7th place in the standings. Wichita has gone from bad to worse with four straight losses (all at home) and have yet to win at home (0-7-2).
DID YOU KNOW: When leading after two periods the Americans record this year is 7-0-1. When trailing after two periods the record is 0-5.